Melbourne: Coco Gauff was twice a point away from being pushed to a third set by Emma Raducanu at the Australian Open but steadied herself and went on to a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory Wednesday in the first head-to-head meeting between two young stars of tennis.
“This was a long-anticipated matchup,” said the seventh-seeded Gauff, who was the runner-up to No. 1 Iga Swiatek at the French Open last June. “Basically since the draw came out.”
The 18-year-old from Florida moved into the third round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2020. She is the youngest seed in the women’s field.
A seriously impressive performance 👏
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 18, 2023
Raducanu, a 20-year-old who represents Britain, has not made it past the second round at a Grand Slam tournament since she won the 2021 US Open as a teenager. That made her the first qualifier to claim a major trophy.
Currently ranked 77th, Raducanu has been dealing with an ankle injury. Yet she was so close to extending this match, holding a pair of set points while ahead 5-4 in the second set.
On the first chance, Raducanu sailed a backhand long. On the second, she dumped an attempted drop shot into the net.
That helped Gauff hold serve there. More miscues by Raducanu tilted the tiebreaker, and the match Gauff’s way.
“I just told myself,” Gauff said, “to hang in there.”